Razorbacks Softball Wins Series at No. 8 Missouri

Courtesy University of Arkansas Athletics Department

COLUMBIA, Mo. –The University of Arkansas softball team defeated the No. 8 Missouri Tigers, 11-10, in eight innings on Sunday in Columbia, Mo. at University Field.

Arkansas rallied from a 5-4 deficit and scored six runs in the seventh inning. Missouri answered with five runs of its own to tie the game in the bottom half of the inning. The Hogs scored in the top of the eighth and senior pitcher Chelsea Cohen worked a scoreless final frame to give Arkansas its first series win over a Top 10 team, on the road, since April 2010.

“That was a crazy game,” head coach Mike Larabee said. “We gave a national audience a great show. This is going to be a great rivalry going forward. I am happy with the way our kids kept fighting. We wanted it more today.”

Clarisa Navarro scored the game-winning run in the top of the 8th inning on a wild pitch. The junior from La Joya, Texas went 3-for-4 on the day and tied the game in the top of the seventh with a solo-homerun. Her defense proved key in the bottom of the eighth when she turned a double play with the bases loaded and zero outs in the inning.

“Navarro had an amazing day,” Larabee said. “She played solid defense all game and reached base every time that she was at bat today.”

Amanda Geile put the Hogs ahead in the seventh inning on a three-run homerun to make the score 8-5. Chloe Oprzedek also homered in the game, a two-run blast in the fifth inning.

After two walks in game two, Wallace walked to start game three. This gave the sophomore an NCAA-leading 57 on the year. She was caught stealing and broke a 9-for-9 stolen base streak to end inning number one.

Emily Crane reached base on an infield single to start Missouri’s half of the first. She stole second and eventually scored on a two-out single from Angela Randazzo. Arkansas starter Kimmy Beasley battled back and struck out Kelsea Roth to end the first and keep the score at 1-0.

Navarro and Sierra Bronkey led off the second inning with back-to-back singles. However, the Razorbacks were unable to plate either runner as Missouri starter Chelsea Thomas worked out of the jam.

After Mackenzie Sykes and Corrin Genovese reached to start the bottom of the second, Beasley faced Kelsi Jones with two runners on. She battled back and struck out Jones. Kayla Kingsley followed the strikeout and ground out for out number two. Crane was then intentionally walked to load the bases for Jenna Marston. She skied a ball to centerfield but Stephanie Canfield ran it down and retired the side, showing great speed in the process.

Amanda Summerford drew a four-pitch walk with one out in the third inning. Wallace followed the walk with her second base on balls of the day. Canfield worked a full count and then reached on a fielder’s choice as Summerford beat the throw to third. Oprzedek skied a ball to shallow centerfield, two Missouri defenders collided and all of the runners advanced, with Summerford crossing home-plate. Navarro followed the Arkansas run by plating one of her own on a single. Navarro’s 31st RBI of the season gave Arkansas a 2-1 lead.

After two straight walks to start the bottom of the third inning from Beasley, Arkansas turned to senior pitcher, Hope McLemore. The Ringling, Okla. native came in and got Roth to fly out to centerfield. Jayme Gee caught Hudson trying to steal third on the next pitch for out number two. McLemore cut down Sykes to end the third inning and work out of the jam.

Following a scoreless fourth inning, Wallace drew her third walk of the day to start the fifth inning. Two batters later, Oprzedek continued her fantastic weekend and belted a two-run bomb over the rightfield fence. Her ninth homerun of the season put Arkansas ahead, 4-1.

Missouri cut the lead in half in the bottom of the fifth as Randazzo and Roth notched back-to-back doubles with one out. Roth’s 32nd RBI of the year made the score 4-2. McLemore came back to retire Sykes and Genovese to keep the damage to a minimum. 

Pinch-hitting Carlie Rose reached on an infield single to start the bottom of the sixth. Kingsley was then hit by a pitch and that put two runners on for Crane. She flied out to Canfield in center for out number one. Marston cut the lead to one in the next at bat as she singled up the middle. McLemore battled back and struck out Hudson for out number two. After a walk to Randazzo, Beasley was inserted back into the game in the circle. She worked a 3-2 count on Roth, but eventually walked in a run. This tied the game at four runs apiece. Missouri took the lead two pitches later as a wild pitch got away from Gee. Marston scored the make the score 5-4, Tigers.

It took Navarro one swing to tie the game in the seventh. She hit a ball deep into rightfield and the wind pushed it over the fence. Navarro’s second homerun of the season made the score 5-5. Bronkey followed the homer with a double. Nicole Schroeder walked to put two runners on in the seventh. Geile approached the plate and fell down in a 1-2 count. She skied a ball into rightfield and the wind carried it over the fence. The three-run blast put Arkansas up, 8-5. Gee followed the homer by reaching on an error. She came around to score two batters later on a Wallace sacrifice fly. Arkansas scored its 10th run on a wild pitch as Jennifer Rambo crossed the plate in the next at-bat.

Missouri battled in the bottom of the seventh as Kingsley and Crane notched back-to-back, one-out, singles. Marston then hammered a standup double to make the score 10-6. Hudson followed the double with a walk to load the bases for Randazzo. She walked and that cut the lead to three runs, as the bases remained loaded with one out for Roth. She swung at the first pitch and flied out to centerfield for out number two. Sykes singled in the Tigers’ next at bat to make the score 10-8. Genovese tied the game on the next pitch as she doubled into the rightfield wall. The senior captain, Cohen, was then inserted into the game and got pinch-hitting Rachel Hay to groundout and end the rally.

Navarro continued her excellent game and gave the Razorbacks a leadoff runner in the eighth. Schroeder belted a single to put runners at the corners for Geile. Two pitches later Navarro came home to score on a wild pitch. Her second run scored of the game gave the Hogs an 11-10 lead.

After back-to-back singles started the bottom of the eighth, Cohen walked Marston to load the bases for Hudson. She lined the first pitch into Navarro’s glove at shortstop. The junior then threw the ball to third base and doubled up Kingsley for out number two. Cohen walked pinch-hitting Alyssa Cousins to load the bases for Roth. She worked a 1-2 count and then blooped a ball to leftfield. Summerford came in to make the catch and give the Razorbacks the series win.

Next up, Arkansas returns home to take on the No. 18 Kentucky Wildcats. Game one of the series is slated for Friday at 6 p.m.


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